The Association of Marina Industries recently offered a salute to its women leaders during Women’s History Month.
Seven of AMI’s 19 directors are women, including Marieke van Peer, who this year became the first woman to take a seat on the organization’s executive team. In addition, AMI has four women in key roles on its staff. This is a noteworthy level of representation in the greater recreational boating industry.
“AMI has always been very supportive of promoting women to the Board, and I am honored to be the first female treasurer,” says van Peer. “I love this industry and being surrounded by so many brilliant people. I understand the value of speaking out and using your voice, and AMI is a fantastic way to do that.”
AMI represents more than 1,000 marinas, boatyards, yacht clubs and partner associations worldwide, and operates the AMI Training Institute, which provides education and certifications for marina professionals.
The following is a brief look at the women who help set a course for AMI at the board level:
Marieke van Peer, of Peer Consulting and Management, based in Plantation, Florida, this year took on the role of treasurer. A Certified Marina Manager, Peer has overseen a number of large boating facilities, including Miami Beach Marina, Bahia Mar Yachting Center, and she was the East Coast Florida regional manager for seven Suntex Marinas facilities. She also managed all facets of the new construction of Island Gardens Deep Harbour in Miami, and most recently was involved in the build out of the Seahaven Superyacht Marina in Dania Beach.
Katheryn Burchett serves as Safe Harbor’s Chief Operations Officer – Domestic Marinas and leads an operations team dedicated to providing exceptional service and memorable experiences to the global boating community. Prior to joining Safe Harbor, she held leadership roles at JCPenney in both strategy and operations. Katheryn is honored to be a part of the recreational boating industry and to work alongside so many others to care for boaters, develop professional careers, and steward the environment.
Kathy Haley is currently the marinas special project administrator for the Marina Division of the Miami Dade Parks Recreation and Open Spaces Department. In this position, she is responsible for ensuring all marina managers obtain their Certificate of Marina Management. She is also a grant writer and a member of the team that produces the Waterfront Recreation Access Plan that involves multiple agencies from the 20 municipalities that border Biscayne Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway. Previously she managed six Miami-Dade marinas.
Georgette “Gigi” Jabbour owns and manages the Tonka Bay Marina in Tonka Bay, Minnesota, where she’s worked since 2007. Besides holding a masters of fine arts, she is a Certified Marina Manager and is proud to be the state’s first female CMM.
Megan Lagasse is the marine director at Tavistock Development Co., the company behind Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Prior to her current position, she was general manager at Bahia Mar Marina, also in Fort Lauderdale, and worked at number of other marine facilities in ports from Nantucket to the Caribbean. She is a Certified Marina Operator, and is involved with a number of boards and associations.
Enza Montano is director of marketing and special events at Chicago Harbors-Westrec, now a part of Suntex Marinas, where she’s worked for nearly two decades. She has a background in finance and a degree in economics, and has organized a number of management events and other marina happenings, including “Women at the Helm,” a boating instruction program for women, taught by women captains.
Kathryn Ross grew up on the water in Fort Myers, Florida, working throughout high school at her father’s engineering and marina planning firm. She got her start in the industry as a dockhand at Marina Jack in Sarasota over a decade ago. Quickly rising through the ranks, she currently serves as Suntex Marinas’ regional manager for the West Coast of Florida, and has assisted in marina acquisitions throughout Florida, most recently in the Florida Keys. She is also Suntex Marinas’ first Certified Marina Operator. In 2021, she was awarded one of Marina Dock Age Magazine’s “Young Leaders Under 40.”
Turning the board’s strategy into action are the AMI staff whose members include Kayce Florio, part of AMI’s conference and expo business management team, Merritt Alves, who works with the Training Institute and on membership, Michelle Umberger, involved with marketing and membership, and Kim Kaine, an administrative support person.